CHEVROLET SONIC ENHANCES CRASH-AVOIDANCE TECHNOLOGIES FOR 2014
The Chevrolet Sonic has made a big impact on Chevrolet’s successful small-car lineup. For 2014, the only subcompact assembled in America adds available advanced crash-avoidance technologies and enjoys the first full model year of enhanced connectivity including access to Siri Eyes Free voice recognition (for customers with compatible iPhones), BringGo in-dash navigation and TuneIn global radio.
Sonic’s youthful design, fuel efficiency, spirited driving experience and unexpected features for the segment are bringing new, younger customers to the Chevrolet brand, along with industry and government awards for value, design and safety. Thirty percent of Sonic buyers are under 35, and nearly half of buyers trade in a non-GM brand.
A new, advanced safety package including Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning – crash-avoidance technologies typically found on cars costing more – is available on all but base Sonic models, as well as a rear vision camera.
Ten standard air bags and Bluetooth phone connectivity across the Sonic lineup, as well as standard remote vehicle start on automatic transmission-equipped LT, LTZ and RS models, further enhance Sonic’s value. A new-for-2014, limited availability LT Promotional Package includes Chevrolet MyLink radio, a power sunroof and front fog lamps.
Sonic is the first and only car in its class to receive a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score for safety from the National Highway Traffic Administration, and the 2013 model was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Sonic was recognized by J.D. Power and Associates as having the highest-ranked vehicle appeal among subcompact cars owners in the 2012 APEAL Study. It also was designated as one of the Best Family Cars of 2012 by Edmunds and Parents magazines, and its interior was named one of Ward’s 10 Best Interiors for 2012.
The Sonic lineup
Sonic customers can choose between two body styles: a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback in LS, LT, LTZ and RSmodels.
Sonic RS sedan and a Dusk package for LTZ sedan were added midway through the model year, expanding the lineup and giving customers more choices for high-style, performance-oriented sedans. The RS sedan delivers all of the performance-oriented features of the hatchback, while the Dusk package brings a higher level of sophistication to the segment, with distinctive exterior features and premium interior appointments.
Each Sonic model delivers class-leading rear-seat roominess and cargo space. Standard and available features include:
- Standard Ecotec 1.8L engine (non-RS models) paired with five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions that deliver an EPA-estimated 35 mpg highway
- Available 1.4L Ecotec turbocharged engine (available on LT and LTZ, standard on RS) that, when paired with the six-speed manual, achieves an EPA estimated 40 mpg highway
- Standard electric power steering and StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover sensing
- Sedan offers more trunk capacity (14.9 cu. ft. / 422 L), than the larger Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla; and the hatchback and sedan offer better rear-seat room than Ford Fiesta. With a rear seat that folds nearly flat, the Sonic hatchback has greater cargo capacity ( 47.7 cu. ft. / 1351 L) than Fiesta
- Connectivity includes Chevrolet MyLink radio (standard on LTZ and RS, available on LS and LT), standard OnStar with six months of Automatic Crash Response, Directions and Connections service, Turn-by-Turn navigation and MyChevrolet mobile app. SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with three trial months of service) is standard on all but the base Sonic, along with USB and Bluetooth streaming audio functionality
- Remote start, heated front seats and sunroof – all rarities in the segment
- Ten standard air bags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist.
Sporty, youthful exterior
From every angle, the Sonic sedan and five-door hatchback convey sportiness, strength, stability and refinement. Performance-themed design elements include its wheels-at-the-corners proportions, fender flares and motorcycle-inspired round headlamps.
Those design cues blend with Chevrolet global design hallmarks such as a dual-element grille and round taillamps. The leading edge of the hood forms a character line above the headlamps, which flows in a sleek side profile characterized by uninterrupted body side lines, a high beltline and low roofline. The side mirrors carry the same shape as the car and seemingly disappear into the profile.
Other details that reinforce Sonic’s quality and attention to detail include chrome grille surrounds and matte black honeycomb grille inserts on all models. A range of wheel sizes, including 17-inch alloy wheels, reinforces its sporty demeanor.
Sonic Dusk – offered exclusively on LTZ sedan – includes an Ashen Gray Metallic exterior color, a unique ground effects styling package, satin aluminum-style trim and 18-inch aluminum wheels with a Pearl Nickel finish.
For 2014, Sonic adds these colors: Red Hot, Ashen Gray Metallic and Cool Blue. Other colors include Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Blue Topaz Metallic and Mocha Bronze Metallic. For an additional charge, customers may choose White Diamond, Crystal Red Tintcoat and Black Granite Metallic.
Roomy, award-winning interior
Sonic’s cabin complements its motorcycle-inspired exterior with a detailed instrument cluster featuring a large, round analog tachometer set within an asymmetrical LCD readout, with a large digital speedometer display.
Depending on the trim level ordered, Sonic offers two varieties of cloth (LS and LT) as well as perforated leatherette (LTZ) and leather-appointed (RS) seating surfaces. Interior colors and combinations include Jet Black/Dark Titanium; Jet Black/Brick; Dark Pewter/Dark Titanium and Jet Black (RS).
The Sonic Dusk package is offered in an exclusive combination, with Jet Black leather-appointed seats featuring Mojave tan sueded microfiber accents.
The mid-instrument panel surface flows seamlessly into the upper doors, with premium, low-gloss finishes. The automatic shift knob has a “cobra head” design, while the manual shifter has a chrome-finished knob.
The interior is functional, too, with storage compartments in the center stack and doors. The rear seats fold virtually flat for carrying larger items such as sports gear.
Front bucket seats are standard and heated front seats are available.
Chevrolet MyLink connectivity
MyLink is standard on Sonic LTZ and RS, and available on Sonic LS and LT models. It consists of a seven-inch diagonal touch screen, AM/FM/SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with three months of service) stereo with seek-and-scan, digital clock, Bluetooth streaming audio for music and select phones, voice recognition for compatible smartphones and six speakers.
On Sonic, MyLink operates by integrating the owner’s compatible smartphone and stored media – via Bluetooth, plug-in outlet or USB – with the radio. This lets owners enjoy simple, safe and personalized connectivity while their smartphone is stowed. It also makes it easy to accommodate new apps.
MyLink is simple to use: The owner selects from options projected onto the touch screen: Audio, Pictures & Movies, Telephone, Smartphone Link and Settings. Each menu selection takes the user though a list of easy-to-select functions.
The Chevrolet Sonic and Spark are the first vehicles to offer Siri Eyes Free integration. Through the cars' available Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, customers with a compatible iPhone* running iOS6 or iOS7 can direct Siri to perform a number of tasks while they safely keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.
Also, the available BringGo navigation app, the most affordable navigation system in its class, offers easy-to-use features that included 3-D maps with lane suggestions, live traffic data, and more.In MyLink-equipped Sonics, owners can use Siri in Eyes Free mode to:
- Make voice-activated, hands-free calls to Contacts on their iPhone
- Play songs in the iTunes library, and even switch music sources automatically from AM/FM/XM radio to iPod mode
- Listen to, compose and send an iMessage or text message to a phone number or anyone in saved Contacts
- Access Calendar and add appointments
- Minimize distraction even more by keeping the screen of the iPhone from lighting up, even when Siri answers simple questions such as game scores or the dates of national holidays
- While in Eyes Free mode, Siri will not provide answers to complex questions that require displaying a web page.
The available BringGo app provides full-function, in-dash navigation via MyLink, as well as live traffic updates for less than $60. It also includes:
- Emergency information such as police, fire and the nearest hospital
- Thousands of points of interest
- Local Search via Google
- Where am I ? locator
- Live traffic functionality provides crash reports and lane closures, and with alternative routes
- 3-D maps
- Ability to store native maps to the customer’s compatible smartphone, giving them access to locations and turn-by-turn directions even when phone signal quality is poor. Many GPS-enabled apps do not do this
- Available for download on iTunes or Googleplay for compatible smartphones.
The TuneIn app connects Sonic customers to live local, international and Internet radio. Users can search for programming by location, genre, sports team name, station type or call sign.
The Sonic driving experience
Sonic is the only car in its class with an available turbocharged engine, and it provides segment-leading torque. When paired with the six-speed manual transmission, the available Ecotec 1.4L turbo (standard on RS and Dusk) produces 138 horsepower (103kW) and 148 lb.-ft. (200 Nm) of torque between 1,850 and 4,900 rpm and achieves an EPA-estimated 40 mpg highway.
The wide rpm range for the maximum torque – a specific trait of turbocharged engines – helps the engine deliver a better driving experience and performance.
Premium design elements give the engine world-class smoothness and durability, including a low-mass, hollow-frame cast iron block, dual overhead camshafts with variable valve timing, chain-driven cams and roller-finger camshaft followers, piston-cooling oil jets and integrated oil cooler, a variable-flow oil pump and an electronically controlled thermostat.
The turbocharger is integrated within the exhaust manifold, for reduced weight and greater packaging flexibility. A reinforced crankshaft and stronger connecting rods deliver additional strength to support the engine’s pressurized power and torque over a wide rpm band.
Sonic’s standard engine, the naturally aspirated Ecotec 1.8L engine, has many of the same features of the Ecotec 1.4L turbo, including:
- It is a compact and durable four-cylinder engine designed for low maintenance, low emissions and fuel efficiency.
- Its two-stage variable intake manifold allows approximately 90 percent of peak torque to be available from 2,400 rpm to 6,500 rpm.
- It is rated at 138 horsepower (103 kW) along with 125 lb.-ft. of torque (170 Nm) at 3,800 rpm.
Several transmissions are available: a five-speed manual and six-speed automatic with the 1.8L; and a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic with the 1.4L turbo.
Sonic’s ride and handling was tuned for a more direct feel, while balancing the vehicle for the broad range of driving conditions in North America. Its standard hill start assist feature makes it easier to pull away from a stopped position when the vehicle is on an uphill or downhill slope.
Sonic RS turns up the volume
Introduced last year and expanding in mid-2014 to include a new sedan model, the performance-themed Chevrolet Sonic RS amplifies the Sonic’s youthful appearance and driving experience with unique exterior and interior features matched with the Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine. Buyers can choose between six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, both featuring more aggressive final-drive ratios.
One of the most dramatic Sonic RS cues is its front fascia, which has a deep air dam design that enhances the car’s road-hugging stance. Vertical intakes at the edges of the fascia reinforce the wide, low proportion and house the fog lamps. Other features include:
- RS-specific grille
- Rear fascia
- Rear spoiler
- Rocker moldings
- Bright exhaust outlet
- Unique 17-inch five-spoke wheel design
- Lowered and stiffened suspension with performance-tuned dampers
- RS badging.
A power, tilt-sliding sunroof with express-open and wind deflector feature is available.
Inside, a Jet Black interior is exclusive to RS. Features include:
- Leather-appointed front bucket seats with sueded microfiber inserts and red RS accents
- Sport three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel with contrasting stitching and racing-inspired flat-bottom design
- Leather-wrapped shifter knob with red stitching (manual transmission)
- Aluminum sport pedals
- Specific instrument panel cluster graphics.
Sonic safety and crash-avoidance technologies
Sonic is the only car in its segment to achieve an overall five-star safety rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it also earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the IIHS.
Sonic is designed to help drivers avoid crashes, while protecting the occupants in the event a crash occurs. For 2014, two available crash-avoidance technologies on all but base Sonic models, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning, when activated, help warn drivers when they are approaching the vehicle in front of them too quickly; and when they venture outside of a marked roadway lane.
A new rear vision camera – available on LT when MyLink is ordered and standard on LTZ and RS – gives drivers a clearer view of stationary objects behind the vehicle.
Sonic’s strong body structure is designed to absorb crash energy and provide a protective “safety cage” around occupants. More than 60 percent of the body structure is composed of advanced steels.
Other safety technologies include:
- Ten standard air bags include side curtain air bags, which provide head protection for outboard passengers in the event of a side-impact or rollover crash
- StabiliTrak electronic stability control system helps reduce the risk of rollover crashes by keeping the vehicle in the driver’s intended path by applying throttle, braking or a combination of both
- Power-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes are standard; front and rear disc brakes are standard on RS
- Four-channel anti-lock braking is standard and incorporates electronic brake force distribution, which balances braking performance based on such factors as road conditions and the weight of passengers and/or cargo
- Pretensioners minimize forward movement during a collision, and are standard on the front safety belts. Load-limiting retractors cinch the belt more tightly
- LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat attachment system, which is included in all second-row seating positions
- Tire pressure monitoring system on all models
- Standard OnStar.
Six months of OnStar Directions and Connections service is standard on Sonic. OnStar is the global leading provider of connected safety, security and mobility solutions and advanced information technology.
OnStar’s RemoteLink Mobile App allows smartphone users to control vehicle functions, access vehicle information and send directions directly to the vehicle. An opt-in service called FamilyLink allows subscribers to stay connected to loved ones by checking the location of their vehicle online or by signing up for vehicle location alerts.
More information about OnStar can be found at www.onstar.com